by Gayatri Mani
When I first learned to meditate in high school, one thing that really changed my life was the concept of prana and sources of energy.
Prana, or chi as its referred to in many east Asian countries, is your subtle life force energy. It's what gives you life and enthusiasm. What I loved on that first meditation course, was the idea that many people think they're an anxious person, or they're an angry person, but actually it's just their level of prana or energy. When your energy is high, you wake up on the right side of the bed, you’re in a good mood and you feel like you can handle things if problems come your way. When your energy is low, you’re grumpy or sad or anxious, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. My fearful nervous temperament growing up wasn’t a personality trait (or flaw), I just needed more prana!
While there are many ways to increase your prana or move it to different parts of your body, there are four main sources. Check out the sources listed below, and some ways you can incorporate it into your daily routine with your kids.
Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables.
Eat more fresh vegetarian food.
Don't skip meals or overeat.
Avoid eating too much packaged food, leftovers and fast food.
Include smoothies or fresh juices in your diet.
Try some fun prana-full veggies like hydroponic lettuce, micro broccoli or moong bean sprouts!
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep! For adults thats 6-8 hours a day. For kids here are the AAP recommendations for sleep.
Get to sleep by 10 pm.
Avoid staying up too late or oversleeping.
Go outside to play more.
Crack a window if the air outside is good.
Try a pranayam together like bhramari.
Visit a beach, park or go camping in the woods, where air has more oxygen & prana.
Take your kids to a workshop where they can learn more advanced breath-work like Sudarshan Kriya.
Say Om 5 times before going to sleep.
Sing along with a favorite song together (or a few).
Try a lying down meditation like this Yoga Nidra.
Sit for a minute (or five) with your eyes closed after trying the bhramari pranayam.
Close your eyes and watch your breath go in and out for a minute, or depending on how old your kids are, have them lay down, put a favorite stuffed animal or rubber ducky on their bellies and feel the waves go up and down. (You can set up an app to give you a gentle ding reminder when your time is up.)
Gayatri Mani is a children's meditation teacher and teacher trainer. Over the last 16 years she's taught IAHV and Art of Living programs to thousands of children. She has a Masters in Education (M.Ed) and has been working with children for the past 23 years. Her passion lies in helping parents and kids discover their natural abilities, overcome personal challenges and channel themselves to make a difference in the world.